Jan. 28, 2006
NCAA MEN'S BASKETBALL
January 28, 2006
Rhode Island 62
@ #14/15 GW 81
GW Coach Karl Hobbs
What did you tell the team at halftime?
"I told them to settle down, and to relax. I wanted to assure them I was under control because they were playing the way I was acting...We needed to step our defense and limit them to one shot because in the first half, they did a terrific job of attacking us on the glass. They got some momentum going...They are a very tough-minded basketball team.
What made the difference in another close game?
"I think it was our depth and a matter of wearing them down....We played 8, 9, 10 people in the second half, and that was the difference. Our experience made the difference at Duquesne; today, it was our depth."
On the play of Regis Koundjia
"He was fantastic today....It was just a matter of time before he showed his talent. I thought that he has been thinking too hard, trying to adjust to different defenses. Today, I told him to stop thinking; just go and play. Anytime you get confused, take the ball to the rim and make the play. He made a huge difference today, particularly on the defensive side setting up the traps."
Is the team where you want it to be this season?
"I don't think so. I'd like to see us shoot better from the 3-point line, and do a better job on offensive rebounds. I think our defense could be better if we could eliminate [other teams'] offensive rebounds. We have a very big challenge in that regard when we go play Xavier because they're such a physical team. They're bigger and stronger than us."
Do you feel good with a 2-game lead in the Atlantic 10?
GW junior G Danilo Pinnock
"No, I'd feel good if we had a 7-game lead. [laughs] I read all the things our players say in the papers. They're not talking about being a top 20 team. They're talking about being the best team they can be and not paying attention to rankings. They're focusing on doing their jobs better. There's a lot of season left, and a lot of things can happen."
How has Pops played the last two games?
"Pops is playing like the monster he is. He's starting to attack the glass. He got off to a slow start due to the suspension early in the year. Now, he's getting into his groove and playing like the Pops we know. Nothing he's doing is surprising us because we see it every day."
On losing the first-half lead...
"I think that's one of the things we have to work on, knowing how to put teams away. We've done it several times this year--go up big and let other teams back in the game. We need to stay focused because this is college basketball. Guys wouldn't be on this level if they couldn't play. The games never over until it's :00 on the clock.
On coming back to win by 19
"It shows that we're never going to give up. We have a coach that's not going to give up on us. We're going to fight all the way. He said the worst thing that can happen is that we lose. He's still going to be here, we're going to be here."
Do it seem like Rhode Island got tired?
"I think it was just that we picked it up. That's a great team. They've improved so much from last year that it's scary. They've always been a tough team, but it wasn't like they came in and tried to beat us up. They wanted to win the game, and I think we were lucky today."
GW senior C Pops Mensah-Bonsu
How did you feel when the score was 54-54, and the game started to turn?
"At the time out, me and the other starters got together and agreed that we have to go on a run and put the game away. It showed our experience. We had some seniors and juniors in the game, and it showed that we knew what we had to do to put the game away. We also got some key defensive stops and made our shots at the other end."
Can you tell when an opponent is wearing down?
"We try to wear people out with how many people we play and how fast we play. They were with us for the first half and part of the second, but we can play that style for 40 minutes. We were able to force our will on them in the last 8 minutes of the game."
What happened to cause you to lose the big lead in the first half?
"I think we got complacent. We were up 10 or 11, and we were acting like the game is over. That hurt us. They caught up and went on a runt to go up by 10. Coach Hobbs didn't like it that we put ourselves in that position. We were turning it on and off, and Coach Hobbs wants us to be consistent and stay at one level and keep our intensity up."
You've had two good games in a row; what's made the difference?
"Before Duquesne, I think I was taking myself out of my own game. I was getting frustrating because I wasn't contributing to the team like I wanted to as far as rebounding and being productive. When Coach Hobbs told me that Duquesne was going to come after me every time, I focused in more. I think just relaxing and playing like I know how to was a factor."
Was this one of the most complete halves of basketball you've had?
[Pauses] Yes, I think so. Look at the stats; I don't think we've held a team to 18 percent shooting. It's not like the Marshall game my first year here, when we held them to two field goals in the second half. That was the best defensive effort I've seen for any team I've been involved with."
Rhode Island Coach Jim Baron
"It was a hard-fought game. We knew they were going to use their athletic ability. They wore us down, kept putting in bodies, the crowd got into it, we missed some shots, they got to the free-throw line I don't know how many times. It seemed like they got every call and got into the one-and-one early, where we had to work for fous. But they're a good team."
On answering GW's early first-half lead...
"Yeah, we came back. I thought the 2nd half would be different in terms of the physicalness of the game. But they got right back to the free-throw line...but they made passes. They're very athletic, and they can run the floor."
Does Rhode Island usually play at the same pace?
"Yes, but in this game, we wanted to be a little more calculated. I was a little disappointed that a couple of times we took too many quick shots. When you're playing against a team like this, they force the tempo. When we got up to a 9-point lead in the first half, our guys got a little overconfident...Our guys needed to be more calculated down the stretch."
You've been in the league a long time; how does this GW team rate against others you've seen?
"They're very good. They defend, they're very athletic, they run the floor, they can shoot from the outside, they've got the inside...they're as good as any team we've ever faced...They're top 15; they deserve this...On any given night, they're as good as anybody. They play a different style, and you have to be ready to play that style for 40 minutes."
Was fatigue a factor down the stretch?
"Yes, you have them coming after you with different guys and different presses. They've got numbers."
On Maureece Rice
"As he gets a little more mature, that gives them so much more stability because you need that presence from the point guard position, especially since they have all the other big guys. I think he's come along well."